The 32-year-old Steelers offensive lineman was carted off the field after he suffered a knee injury in late July. He was expected to miss four- to six-weeks after he was diagnosed with an MCL strain and a bone bruise.
However,Ramon Foster made it back to Steelers practice Monday and is eyeing a Week 1 start, talked openly about the initial fear with his training camp knee injury. "I thought it was over," said Foster, who's 32 and in the last year of his contract. "I thought it was the worst. But we got the MRI and it's one of those things where you're calm now, you've got a shot. To say I'd be ready for Week 1, I honestly didn't think that, either. But the body's weird." But Foster, the Steelers’ second-longest tenured player, said if this weekend was the regular season, he would play.
“I always say to myself, ‘When I’m done, I don’t want to be a guy who you just totally forget about,” the starting left guard said after practice. “Clearly, I’m leaving a mark on some guys because they said the practice wasn’t the same after I left. “It was fun to be back.”
Luckily for him and the Steelers, their game this week is a meaningless preseason finale at Heinz Field against Carolina on Thursday. So the bone bruise and hyperextension Foster suffered during the Steelers’ first padded practice of training camp July 28 has almost two more weeks to heal prior to the regular season opener Sept. 9 in Cleveland.
Though he feels good, Foster is also being cautious. He doesn’t want to rush back at the expense of his long-term health.
“This season is challenging,” Foster said. “My goal is to be 100 percent right so I don’t have to take a week off at some point for general soreness. We’ll see how we feel (Tuesday).” Foster created a role for himself after making the team as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and is entering the final season of a three-year deal he signed in 2016. He shrugged when asked if the injury ended any chance at signing a new contract before the regular season starts.